I used to have a few bones to pick with Mr. Robot.
First, I used to think that Mr.Robot was annoying because it had people of color as characters, but only in the background, not as leads, while the lead was another white dude.
Today though, I found out that Eliot is actually played by an egyptian-american called Rami Malek. So what the show actually has is a whitewashed lead, whose character as a white name (“Eliot Alderson”) and white father and sister & a mother who’s not white but we don’t really see/ hear about her enough to actually learn that. This article by a Persian-American actor considers the matter in depth.
Then some relevant comments under the article made me rethink everything again with arguments such as “characters are written before the actor is cast” or “if he had an arab name than it would also be offensing because of how white he looks, like brown people can’t actually be played by brown people” and then also that eliot is considered a terrorist, and it might end up seeming like a stereotype if he was arab… So I’m not sure what I think anymore.
Another thing I found annoying was how dramatized his delusions were made to be. Made me think of United States of Tara and all the other shows that use delusions as some kind of cinematic device to make cool things happen on screen. His social anxiety & depression seemed to me a lot more relatable and realistic. But I wasn’t certain either because I don’t have delusions…. So I looked for an article by a person who does, found one, and according to the author, it’s actually a good portrayal of the “disorder”:
Mr. Robot does a fantastic job of theatrically reproducing the experience of navigating interactions with dissociative “parts” (or “passengers” as I sometimes call them). Most productions that feature a character with DID depict them from another character’s point of view — we aren’t given access to how a fractured consciousness is experienced from the inside. As a rare artistic representation of DID from the user’s perspective, Mr. Robot is bang on.
So I guess, in the end the only bone I can really pick with this show, and it’s a pretty big one, is the constant manarchist violence. Seriously, can we have a show about like qtpoc disabled femmes doing transformative & healing justice? Less black hoodies, more pink strass jacket? Pretty please???